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 In Tricks of the Trade

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Most of the time, the end vise on my workbench is more than adequate to secure workpieces between bench dogs. Occasionally, though, I need to work with thin wood at the front edge of the bench (such as when using a plow plane to groove small box sides). For this, I need a holding device that won’t be in the way of the plane or its fence.

I have found that wood dowels (matching the diameter of your dog holes) that are inserted into through-holes in small pieces of scrap wood (that are thinner than your workpiece) are a useful accessory. Dowels equipped with a brass ball catch can be tapped flush with the surface of the scrap wood.

By placing one jig in the two end-vise holes and one jig in two bench holes, I can hold small pieces securely and be assured that the plow plane has clearance. Neither jig should overhang the front of the bench. That way, the plane’s fence registers off the workpiece’s edge, not your workbench.

If you have only one hole in your end vise, glue a strip of wood to the front edge of the scrap wood and use just one dowel. –Jim Quinlivan

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